Shavra – Nothern Island and Abbey Interior

Alright! Time for an update!

I know that what I have shown the last time was already rather polished so I’ll have to warn you that what will be shown in this update is in an a lot more “raw” state.:)

Estimating a release date for anything I do is impossible at the moment. I think I get a couple of evenings to work in GG and something comes in between and I don’t touch Shavra for days in a row. Then I suddenly make a lot more progress than expected and am tempted to believe that it will always go this fast. I have been working on this on and off for the last couple of days and just plan to get the alpha out this year and then see how it progresses (the game and the engine).

The dullest thing about making a video game (I have already evaded a lot of dull procedures by using a plattform like GG) must be the tiresome adjusting and improving of furniture and clutter items. You need them for your game but its just so mindnumbingly boring to retexture a bunch of cabinets. :/
I usually listen to music or some kinda lecture. Sometimes watch some internet video or a show on the side. …can only recommend to do it that way because you gotta do it if you want your game to look the “video” part of “videogame” 🙂

Aside from that complaint, I had a lot of fun working on the chars and these new environments. I have started to furnish the interior of the Abbey and am almost done with the other side of the island. Here you’ll be hunting 2 dinosaur like creatures that have attacked the settlements (hence the pallisades everywhere, by the way)

I can also say with certainty what kind of levels will be seen in the Alpha-demo:

Aresh-Ren (By evening and nighttime)
Areshian Abbey
Abbey-dungeon
Interior of several huts
Pub (day and night)
Cave (optional: sidequest only)

I am aware that these look similar to what has been seen before. This is because we are still on the same island, just on the other side of it. Developing does take a lot longer than playing 😉

You’ll see a bunch of sunrays in this update… cause its neat 😛

I’m happy that I have a bunch of bearded chars for the game. Adds to the fantasy mystique. This is a docent at the abbey. I want him to give you a dialogue based sidequest, but haven’t worked on any of how I can achieve that to be interesting.

The lecture hall. West wing of the Abbey.

First thing you see once you enter the other side of the island. Its an a bit more woodsy area.

I’m happy to share this! I think I managed to make this level feel really “breathing”.

Swampy coast.

Abandoned huts. As mentioned before: large dinosaur like predators are roaming the area and you need to deal with them.

😀 A small animated turtle I got for FPSC a couple years back. It finally has its uses.

Entrance Hall, Areshian Abbey.

And ending on a lush, foresty note is a nice way to wrap up the screenshots. Please leave some feedback if you wish.

Advertisements
Posted in Development, Shavra | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shavra – Progress and Characters

You can also read the last update for more information on design choices 🙂

I had some time to work on this and after some frustration and quite a few deleted meshes, I finally have a level of quality and workflow I can maintain to make individual characters. I have discussed this in the last update and they are still far from what is seen in current game engines but I think they fit the overall aesthetic well and blend in with the world. I haven’t done that many yet.

In the plot you will hire a ferryman to get you to the Aresh’Ren island and that is precisely the first character I have salvaged. He is not perfect and these old meshes feel rushed and have quite some frustrating flaws in them but I am getting there. This also settles that dialogues will be textbox based, with the occasional shout or comment that is audible… old school, the fossils among us will remember that well.

My next step will be to design the characters I need for the alpha, but I have also worked on other levels. I have added this swimming pool to the sanctuary where FPSC’s stock swimming animation finds its use. This is the first time I see this animation in use since 2005.

two bathing maiden in the new sanctuary pool.
Its entirely by accident that her hair has this wet look, by the way

I could end the update here, but I have also gotten the Island map to the state it will be released in when the alpha goes out sooo… while this greatly resembles what has been shown before, its now upgraded! …and this is my thread, I can present this the way I want.

Abbey with extensive garden area.

As seen before only tweaked. Notice the sign over the inn, I’ll go with sumerian style writing as the writing of the Shavrans.

Please leave some feedback if you’re already here

Posted in Shavra | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shavra – Resurrection (Archive)

Hello!

While I’m aware that most of my old followers have most likely forgotten about this project I’d still like to continue updating this profile as I am working on this title again.

I had a long hiatus from game design as I was working on my career and then I have trained my skills on a completely different projects. Add a few 3D modeling gigs here and there and months have gone in the land.

This project has been continued as well and I will now post what I have been up to in a few updates that will follow in relatively short time.

*** *** ***

**************

While I really should upload my models to the store I have instead been working on Shavra. =) Oh well! At least I am happy with the results. If you are interested in how I go about designing my games, read the following italic text.

At first I weave a broad storyline out of an initial idea. Then I take an educated guess of what can and can not be done. Older members know that with FPSC, I have usually been wrong and I couldn’t do it in the end…well sometimes I could and that was always fun. Now that this has been established I note the single acts and where they take place. I now start developing the maps for the middle parts of the game. Never start at the beginning because

1. You will get better and only rework and remake them which can ultimately distort the original idea.
2. The first few levels will give the first impression of your game, you should craft them at the height of your skill level. A player who is already playing as far as, say, level 5 won’t mind as much if its slightly less advanced.

Here I’ll develop a broad layout of the map, then I add the basic gameplay, then I add the characters, then I tweak both of these aspects, then I’ll add more advanced gameplay and then the map and the models will be polished.

We are mostly still at the broad mapdesign phase altough I have started branching in the character creation part.

Characters in indie games are trouble! If you play indie games you may have noticed that many of the big independent titles have little to zero interaction with actual real-time characters. Amnesia, Penumbra, Doorways and many more do a lot to avoid them.
In AAA games the characters are lively and amazing. I remember well someone describing the fact that the eyes of your squad in the early Brothers in Arms games would follow the player as scary. Well… how would you describe the extremely vivid characters in modern games then? Its not uncommon to find younger commentators describing the conversation animations of older games as “cringe-worthy”.

I think this is really something an indie dev has to ponder upon if he does not want to alienate his players. How do I go about using characters in Shavra?

The fact is that I have a large library of rarely used and decently animated chars to populate my world. They are in a rough state and need a lot of touching up but I believe that I can make them look passable with some texturing magic. Interaction is another aspect of this and in the end I just decided to go with a conversation system similar to S.t.a.l.k.e.r. or Morrowind.
They look better than Morrowind chars and the standart for my game is set to be that of a modded Morrowind visually.
Sure, a lot of players are too jaded to bother with the end result but I’m sure I’ll have a player base….I always had one.

Now I also have some visual updates… because I know how exciting an all-text update is 😀

I have mentioned that buildings will have (at least somewhat) matching interior architecture to how they appear outside. That has always been important to me. Here the interior of one of these huts we saw earlier. Making these is quite fast and easy, my only complaint is the plasticky shimmer GG adds to my props in baked lightmapping under the current rendering system…but all this will be improved. There are some shading and rendering faults in these images, I know that.

Strolling through Areshian nature and taking in the vistas. I’m happy with the quality of the foliage I use and find that it already has quite an atmosphere to it. Its in no way perfect but it looks already better than what I thought I could do in GG yet. What do you think?

Prototype of the Areshian Abbey. Not too crazy about its current normalmap and texture quality but getting there 🙂

Thats it for this time! If you have stuck through and have been reading all this, please let me know what you think! 🙂 Feedback is always very appreciated.

Posted in Development, Shavra | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Relict – FPSCreator Fantasy Game – 2010

2010

FPSC

Hello there!

Relict is a project still close to my heart. Game development is a particularly frustrating art form as its very possible to pour a lot of work and time into a project and yet still end up with nothing. The project has evolved alongside my skills and technical knowledge and eventually migrated over to the unreal engine. (See here)

Swapping the engine was the last one of a long sequence of mistakes that eventually doomed the project to fail. Working on it, however, taught me a lot of valuable lessons. I dabbled into writing,scripting, music and sound design as well as improved a lot of my game development skills. In this archival post I’d also like to share the primary reasons of why you can not download and play it now and all I can show are screenshots. But first lets take a look at the actual project:

I designed the plot line to play to FPSC’s strength, at least partially. It would take place in a single areas that offered too locations. An idyllic abbey and a large dungeon complex underneath. The game would first take you through exposition and tutorial type levels through the abbey, levels I have decorated with a lot o attention for detail. This was also the time that I have adopted the widespread use of normalmapping. Afterwards you would be on a dungeon crawl through an ancient and increasingly dangerous underground temple complex.

As I was aware that character interaction and dialogues would have been hard to deliver convincingly I wrote in a demon character that possessed the protagonist and would taunt him as well as offer comic relief. This was supposed to be very similar to Clarence in Penumbra or Xana in Dark Messiah.

Throughout development, character meshes would change/where replaced/retextured and upgraded.

The lower picture shows an early test of a light spell that would allow you to illuminate darker areas. Working torches or flashlights where either rather silly or barely functional in FPSC at the time due to its static lightmapping system and the general gist of how light and shadow work in it. This spell is a work around and is based of the feature that guns briefly light up the area when shot in the engine.

I initially wanted to copy in the plot line I posted in a forum when I presented this game, but my english skills where vastly inferior at the time and it makes me cringe now. You can look at it here…if you want to.

A short, vague and ultimately bland summary is this:

In a world ravaged by war, a clash between the forces of magic and the upcoming power of technology, a young thief finds himself a key figure destined to shape events.

As generic as this sounds, I did write a rather servicable script for this that featured several fresh ideas for me to convey plot and lore with the limited tools I have had. Serviceable enough that its likely that I pick this project up again in a different engine some time in the future. 🙂

The feature list as presented at the time was:

  • *Mystical and Dark Ambience
    *Dialogues, short side quests and hand to hand combat
    *Parcour and Puzzle based gameplay
    * Nice Effects!Fire,Water, Magical Energys, Rain, Lightray, Fog…this game will have it all
    *A lot of animals (small and large ones)
    *Outdoor levels
    *Selfmade models, paintings and a huge load of re-textures to give this game its own look

These are examples of in-game interactivity. The inventory system was largely “fake”. It presented items that you can gather in boxes in a way that implies that you have an inventory you can access but in reality things where either consumed/read/activated immediately or became part of your HUD and thus activated with a designated key.

The second picture here shows how I have gotten around the fact that I was unable to get any cursor/mouse interaction going for menus so I attached functions to convenient keys.

Now on to the downfall.

The truth is that when I was working on Relict I was a different, much younger and much more naive person. My enthusiasm made the project grow way beyond my capabilities and means (and beyond the scope of the engine I developed it in) and now that I am older and wiser I just know that THIS game would have been impossible to finish. Later titles failed due to inadequacies with FPSC then but this one…its almost all on me. You see, FPSCreator has the following issues:It does not flush the ram properly after a level is finished (and my levels loaded in a lot of content), it had a memory cap allowing one to only design very small and very well planned levels, its hilariously unstable once games are built and its combat system did not allow one to make particularly convincing magic and melee systems (altough I tried my best using the fantastic models by Errant AI)

Speaking of the melee system. The main flaw was that one could not properly chain attacks which made sword fighting rather awkward. Rather than being able to swing your blade around you would hit…wait for it to get to starting position and then hit again. This works for back up melee weapons in shooters but not so much a full fledged fantasy games. Spells would be disguised “modern” weapons.

However! The brawling in the game was really fun, I gave the enemies a few delightfully insulting taunts and the awkwardness of everything added a certain charm to it.

Another glaring issue was the sheer amount of scripts always active in every level. I wanted to give the player the “immersive sim” experience masterfully provided by games like Thief or Deus Ex. Lots of variables, lots of HUD overlay’s being triggered…no surprise a lot of things would overload or not activate properly. Levels started to look like this in-editor:

A lot of concepts, ideas and artworks I have made for Relict have eventually migrated over to projects like Shavra and Acythian. Sure, I’d be proud to have released this game but the sheer workload I thought I could manage and all the features I thought I could “figure out later” makes me now see clearly that this whole thing was simply impossible. I am still thankful that I started it and I had a lot of fun just toying with creating this little world.

Huge shoutout to the FPSC community who helped and supported me while I was dabbling with this.

Thank you for reading! I leave you now with a collection of screenshots from the project:

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Tutorial] – Lightmapping in Game Guru

Hi!

First of all, I don’t claim my lightmapping to be particularly great. However, I was one of the first to dabble into GG’s stubborn lightmapper and am sad to see that so little have yet dared to experiment with it.
Those of you familiar with my work might remember that I wrote a similar tutorial back in 2011 for FPSCreator. However, a lot has changed with how GG handles its lightmaps and GG users around the web are amazingly inept when it comes to this crucial, if not vital, part of level design that I think its time that someone writes a tutorial on how to do it.

Okay, now that I have successfully alienated the majority of my audience, lets get this puppy started:
Introduction

Now lets read what uncle Wiki says about lightmaps: “A lightmap is a data structure used in lightmapping, a form of surface caching in which the brightness of surfaces in a virtual scene is pre-calculated and stored in texture maps for later use. Lightmaps are most commonly applied to static objects in realtime 3d graphics applications, such as video games, in order to provide lighting effects such as global illumination at a relatively low computational cost.”
Now for all you shrimp with a short attention span out there, this just means that lightmapping is a process that saves illumination data in a picture and later puts it over the static geometry of your map. Like a warm and cozy blanket. Here is an example of what that looks like:
 

Example of a lightmap texture 

 

GG Level without textures and only lightmaps.

Now everyone who has ever worked in traditional art, photography or film nows how crucial lighting is and if you are just starting out in game development you might have never thought about it. Visually a level is made up in 3 equally important parts.

How it looks and the story it tells (this includes the quality of the assets, how they are arranged and how much the player can immersive himself)
How it functions, how its navigated and how clear that is communicated to the player (this is where all things gameplay fit in. Nobody likes an impressive level where you can only go straight)
And how its lit. (lighting can dramatically change the mood of the level and determines what the player sees and what he does not see.)

Since everything is constantly changing so does the hobbyist or how its now called “indie” game development scene. When I started out, people where very interested in learning new things and honing their skills but that has certainly been distorted in time. Now that Game Guru has brought in a whole new crowd we still get people who like to get to the meat of things and learn but you also get a whole new bunch who are more interested in pretending that they are a “game studio” and announce their first project right away as a work in progress blockbuster on IndieDB, social media and Steam. This type of crowd usually deflects inquiries about their skills or technical background of games and claims to add features in later or do it in post processing. One bloke even told me that he was in the process of modding the engine to incorporate state of the art lighting effects (I’m well aware that this is impossible). People that are new seem to think that they lose face when they admit that they are new and thus naturally inexperienced. The opposite is the truth. Now more serious developers told me that they had issues and then opted to use dynamic lights. Thats okay for exterior maps but can be a serious problem when working with interior levels. I’ll address some problems those folks might have encountered too but first I want to rant more about horrible poser-developers:
Now this type of developer has multiplied over the last few years and they have contributed to sites like IndieDB being mostly a graveyard of concepts and ideas and there being a fatigue for no- to low-budget indie games manifesting in the gaming crowd. There is also the steam witch hunt for asset flips.
Oh well! I suppose there is little one can do to keep this sort of thing to happen. A lot of you probably remember the individual that makes money releasing stock GG demos on steam.

I don’t quite understand this mindset but this thread is about lighting and lightmapping… so:

Long story short: I made a picture using some great work by other artists in the unreal engine to show how crucial lighting is to a map and that its indeed not a skill that can be postponed if you are at least somewhat serious at designing levels.
 

How to lightmap (the tutorial)

Its good practice that after you conceived a level ( be it on paper or in your head) that you start with outlining the general architecture.
Follow this up with a bit of detail and then start a first lighting pass. Now you can experiment with the colours and the mood you aim to realize in your level. This can be quite fun. Once you settle on a colour scheme (there is a lot you can read up on binary contrasts…just keep in mind that every other movie is already toned in oranges and blues so you might as well do something different. Just see what works! ) you can keep that in mind and start with the detail passes.

Before I get into the meat of things, I am always surprised how many game designers end up having light sources (or other objects) awkwardly float a few inches away from the wall they are supposed to be mounted on or terribly mounted on a wall texture. Please don’t add to this.

The basics for lightmapping are this:

Add a light marker and make sure that its static ( press the “y” button or adjust it in its setting. It should now be displayed with a red tint. The ring around it indicates the radius the light will have. Be sure to be generous with this, its better to have too much than too little as light in real life tends to reflect from surfaces. ) As game guru does not support directional lights (altough if you absolutely must have this feature you can easily do it by hand by adding invisible meshes to direct the light.) its best to keep the light a bit away from the light source. (i.e. lamp or fire) This will make sure that the shadows will look more natural and don’t generate any harsh black spots.

I’ll use the sewer map from my game Acythian as a sample in this tutorial:
 

Light placed below a handmade fluorescent lamp.

Colour is an essential component for lightmapping. There are very few rules here. Use what suits the tone and style of your project just remember this:
Never use plain white, even for bright neon lamps. A greyish, blueish or yellowish tint will look a lot more naturalistic.
Fire does not emit red light. Go with a orange/yellowish tint.
 

Colour is selected on the left side of the screen.

These are now shots from my previous tutorial in the FPSC engine. However, the principal here is almost identical.

Select light colour


I rarely opt for the default suggestions. Click “other” to define your very own scheme.


A lot of you are working on grunge/military style or horror games. The lower part of colour intensities is best suited for these genres.


You can adjust the brightness of your light source with the slider on the right. Don’t be afraid of experimenting with dark colours. I recommend mixing them with brighter ones to simulate naturalistic light reflection.

Now all you have to do is hit F3. (F2 and F4 are also valid options. However the F2 option produces a lesser result and the F4 option is supposed to end up rendering better, sharper lightmaps however apart from it taking significantly longer I have never noticed much of a difference myself.)
After a lengthy rendering process ( this is the right moment to grab a cup of tea and check your mail.) you should be able to see your first results.
Your first results are terrible and there are tons of issues

Haha! You didn’t expect it to be that easy, did you? I know that Game Guru is the easy game maker but the truth is, making video games is just never easy. This is also the part where I’ve seen some developers try to stick to dynamic lights and disregard lightmapping entirely. This works for games that are almost entirely set in outdoor areas but its a really poor design decision if you have interiors.

Lets go over the typical mistakes that new users make:
1. I don’t even see my lightmaps.

In order to see your lightmapping you will have to adjust a few sliders in the TAB menu. The sliders make your life really easy compared to some earlier engines. The gist is, in order to see the lightmaps your ambience setting will have to be low and your surface level setting rather high. Make sure that the RGB values of both the ambience and surface level settings complement each other. You’ll end up with better results.
Since I know that people can do the weirdest things with these sliders I saw it fit to add the settings for the sewer levels as a template:
 

2. Some of my entities are not lit or too bright

Hehe! I know it comes across a bit like an elitist statment but it holds true that you only make about 20 to 30% of your game in the GG editor. Scripts, Models, Textures and their adjustment are done outside of the convenient GG drag and drop interface. The thing is that a lot of models don’t use the proper shader. The default choice by the time I am writing this is “effectbank\reloaded\entity_basic.fx”. You will need to make sure that this is a part of the .fpe files of your models (a .fpe file can be modified with the standard windows notepad.) If you know the basics of texturing (and if you are at least somewhat serious about the whole game making thing…you’ll have to get this down.) you can also add normal and specular maps if missing. However, this is not part of the scope of this tutorial.
Note that a lot of models from the steam dlc’s are also missing the shader line.
3. I get a weird plastic like glisten on models in dark areas. 

 

Special thanks to Avenging Eagle for this screenshot!

These are normalmaps reacting to the default sun. (which can not be turned off to my knowledge. At least not at the time I am writing this). In order to rectify this you can either flatten or at least weaken the normalmap intensity or you will have to add near by lights. Adding dynamic lights in the mix with your static lights can also lessen the effect. This is something that will need some practice but I’m sure that you will quickly get the hang of hiding this problem.

The setup.ini

The setup.ini can be found in your game guru install folder. It holds a lot of settings that you can edit manually. Make sure that GG is closed when you are doing this. Here are my settings (feel free to experiment with them)

lightmappingquality=1024
The resolution of the lightmaps (see above) You can go as low as 64 and as hight as 2048. However I dont recommend using 4096 for now.
lightmappingblurlevel=100
What I assume to regulate the sharpness of the lightmaps.
lightmappingsizeterrain=2048
The resolution on the terrain plane.
lightmappingsizeentity=1024
The resolution on entities (hallways, buildings and rooms are also entities)
lightmappingexcludeterrain=1
Use this setting if your game does not use the terrain. It speeds up lightmapping and saves memory.
Be creative

Despite what the marketing of several engines out there will make you think, you can get a lot of advanced engine effects down with trickery (after all, what else are video game graphics?)

These are screenshots from the game dark messiah of might and magic. It uses plain simple textured planes to simulate volumetric light. This can be done the same way in game guru and does barely impact the performance.

This is a terribly clumsy copy of an effect rolfy used a few years ago in his game eldora. You can use illuminationmapped, transparent planes to simulate stained glass windows shining in:

These are just examples! I think its important to have a mindset that allows you to at least try to find a solution for what you wish to accomplish rather than immediately halt production and wait for Lee to implement a new feature for you.

Notes from a previous thread:

If you have models glitch out, rescale or distort:

Open them in fragmotion, uu3d or a toaster for all I care and remove all the bones. Static objects don’t need them anyway.
Remove all .dbo files in the entitybank.
(untested) Someone mentioned that adding “resetlimbmatrix = 1” to the fpe helps in some cases. I can not verify this.

If you get models that reflect oddly or look like they are covered in wax or wet plastic

The lightmapper can react oddly to normalmaps in its current state, your normalmap might be too strong. replace it with a less intense version.

If you get bad results

Mess with the surface level settings and lower the ambience (depending on scene).
Increase settings in the setup.ini (advanced users only)
Check if the lights that are supposed the be static are static.
Lightmapping examples:

Here be tons of screenshots from my games.

Sewer area




Examples from my “flagship” project:












 

Links

Previous topic on lightmapping by me

Bolt Action gamings lightmapping tutorial series

Bugsy’s thread on mixing dynamic with static lights

Thank you for reading

Posted in 3D Art, Development, Tutorials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spotlight – Dark City (2018 Game)

SPOTLIGHT

DARK CITY
FPSC
2018

 

The game can be downloaded for free here.

Review (as adressed to the developers)

First of all, congratulations to getting a full release out, the work in progress boards are proof that this has never been an easy task with FPSC. I see you used Xplosys starter app that allows you to bind several exes with one launcher. A decent way to avoid some of FPSC’s grotesque limitations and it worked quite well with the chapters! This way I didn’t have a single crash.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this game and in a similar fashion to Bugsys review, I will try to be as honest as possible. I find that the menue and loadingscreens are already pretty indicative of what the game is like to play. The menue is interesting, animated and makes the player want to see more, the loading screen is so atrociously badly composed that it made me want to shut the game off right then and there. But then the game started.

We play as Jack Logan, a playfully generic tough cop character with a hilariously generic name. However, the game idea is not generic and I find there are too few games like it. I remember some attempts at making black and white FPSC games, the one that won the nvidia contest back in 2006 or 7, the one by peanutbutterfingers titled “contrast” and a few more. However, so far, this is the only one that I have seen actually released which is cool. Now, using the reshade “sin city” effect was not the worst choice…but using it over an otherwise normally coloured game was.

You see, this game is maybe the ugliest FPSC game I have ever played. This is because everything is underdetailed and the black and white postprocessing effect tends to randomly tint pixels in a screaming red colour that are not supposed to be tinted that way. I feel that if, in this screenshot, only the womans dress would be red (and her afro maybe not so ridicoulusly low poly ) it would be interesting to look at, but this way its very off.
I think your aesthetic would have worked very well if you hand coloured the textures. Added stark contrasts, occasional red highlights, seeing how you use very few detail props this would take you a bit over an hour and look far cooler. If I deactivate the postprocessing effect, the scenes look incredibly low resolution and its very apparent that the art assets are largely from very different artists and time periods (another interesting point I will mention again later).
My point is that the idea is really cool but the execution incredibly unappealing.

The cutscenes are not too badly coreographed, over the top and have a solid cast of appropriately cheesy voice actors. However, the voice work is not very audible compared to the usual sound of the game. Every sound editing tool has a function called “amplify” using that would have made it a lot better as I wouldnt have to turn up the volume every time someone speaks to even hear them. I’m not going to complain about how awkward and hokey the cutscenes where, I found that to be insanely charming and it went well with the rest.

So level 1:

Inspector Tequila is beating up a legion of prisoners. Hey, this was cool. FPSC does not have the best melee features (lord knows I tried.) and I would generally advise against this type of level but being an armed cop that mows down tons of unarmed prisoners would have been in bad taste. Going all Bruce Lee on them is cool though. Here I did however notice the incredible FPSC’ness and simplicity of the levels. There is barely any decor, hallways, and if there is decor it can be incredibly misplaced. There is a “hotel” sign in a prison cell for example. I would have removed the crowbar. Its immediately apparent that its in a completely different visual style than the fists and other weapons and the fists with the kick function where hella cool. Apart from the detail that I can see the end of the arms disappear into nothingness on screen when ever I attack. Perhaps this is a widescreen issue? Tweaking the “forward” value in the gunspec would fix that. I also found it odd that the game told me to pick up more weapons…so I went ahead and picked up my fists. …okay.

Level 2 happens

John McLane ends up in a seedy motel.
Level 2 is what a teenager thinks an illegal brothel in a cheesy hotel looks like I liked the idea and a lot of the work you put into it. Gameplay wise its a corridor shooter and that was okay. A lot of animated scenes in the rooms that where very tongue in cheek kept it interested. I like how an armed cop enters a room after a fierce firefight and is invited to a threesome. The comic book tone of the whole thing paired with 60s detective novel cheese works well but I feel like you didn’t go all out with it. My complaint about the hotel is this: You clearly put a lot of effort into the custom models and animations. However, the surrounding level is just a segment made set of rooms and corridors with barely any defining characteristics or detail. You have the whole mem cap as every chapter is its own exe, you could have worked with it and make this shine. This had such a strong dissonance with me… where I thought, hehe, its cool that they thought of making this and this is boring.

Level 3 happens

Detective Callahan is bored by the generic portion of the game…and a bit confused about the UFO and why the local workers seem to not care about all the shooting.
The obligatory warehouse level was quite ugly and uneventful. Luckily the shotgun allowed it to be fast paced. This is the lowest point of the game for me.

Level 4 happens

Jerry Cotton turns the docks upside down.
For some reason, every other cop/detective type story has to take place at the docks at some point. Here I actually noticed how frequent this is. And the level is quite cool. I never got the feeling of being at the ocean but I was really impressed by all the dynamic fork lift operators, that they honk if you are in the way and all the moving cranes. Dynamic level elements are always nice to see. I was however really underwhelmed by the forklift being in my way later on that just disappeared after I shot it.
Here the game was far more interesting again than in the warehouse. The end sequence where I jump out the window was cool!

Level 5

John Spartan saves the day at the junkyard.
I quite enjoyed this level as it was interesting to navigate and there was a lot going on. The fact that you made a final showdown on top of a crane was really ambitious.
I noticed the strong difference in quality in the car models, from barely being 3d to fully realized interiors. To me as an old FPSC dinosaur, seeing the darkmatter models used in this was quite endearing but I think they will really be offputting to other players. I think the junkyard is where the game really shines. So many jokes, so much effort, a lot of stuff that made me go “hey cool”. I think the game could have used more references and absurd humour.
We kill the bad guy and the game ends. Except that it didn’t for me, I lef the crane and nothing happened, so I walked around a bit more analyzing the level. Oh! And I actually laughed out loud at Moulder and Scully.

The games biggest strengths are:
The flair, the heart and how silly it is. You could really amp this up and maybe accentuate the cartoon aesthetic more. This has potential. Polishing (or at least increasing the volume) of the voice acting and having more funny moments rather than dull grey corridors would have made this something you could easily spread outside of the FPSC scene. I really hope you made another game with similar tone, now a lot more experienced from making this game.

The games biggest weakness is:

I mean honey, its hella ugly. But that doesnt matter: What matters is the horribly stiff and awkward gameplay. I mean wow! This thing reminded me in parts of FPSC gameplay from 2006. Burnyourhonda and Bugsy are 2 noteable examples of people that made shooting and firefights in FPSC really fluid and fun. In this game I was glad whenever I had the shotgun because I could quickly fire my way through the level to see something cool happen again, like an interesting animated sequence or so. Starting with how atrocious the guns are animated. The main weapon is the colt. Its also the worst weapon, it feels like a peeshooter, how close it is to the screen feels totally off, the moving animation is really ugly and it zooms in way too much when I aim. I felt it was a really bad choice to have this weapon accompany you through almost all of the last level. The SMG had the same problem with a hilariously jittery running animation when sprinting (the benny hill theme would fit here).
I mean, you have enemies that actually gib and fall apart so some attempt was made to add to the combat (I appreciated that by the way). The only weapon that felt tolerable was the shotgun.
So yeah, different sounds, weapons positioned differently on screen, taking advantage of the airmod features and better enemy placment (there where countless moments where I could see them spawning or where the did not react to me) would go a long long way.

This is a really nice little homemade game! Having fun shooter gameplay and maybe looking more appealing would make it something that a lot of players around the world would enjoy! And you can’t beat the price

Other note: I saw a lot of really old props from FPSC’s past being used. I liked to see some of these still being in use.

So this is my review. I hope you find it interesting and are not in some way discouraged by the criticism I uttered. AND I really wanna see more from you!

Keep it up.

 

Posted in Reviews, Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kshatriya Origins Teaser Trailer Released!

A teaser for Kshatriya origins, by Wray has been released!

Posted in 3D Art, Development, Kshatriya | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment